Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Loire Valley

After we saw Chartres, we headed for the Loire Valley. If I thought Paris was spectacular, I had no idea what I was going to find in the "Garden of Eden" of France. The Loire Valley is a lush emerald green paradise dotted with castles. It is amazing that the french have been able to preserve history as they have. We felt like we had stepped into a fairytale.

After a long drive through many quaint villages we finally reach the castle of Chambord. It was magical as we search for it through the forest and suddenly it appeared larger than life. I remember all three of us gasping as it came into view. It was immense.

The inside of the castle was sparsely decorated. It was used as a hunting chateau for the king and his buddies. It was under renovation at the time of our visit. The staircase and the stone carved ceiling were the stars of the chateau. The staircase was supposedly designed by Leonardo Di Vinci who lived in France for several years and died there. We'll get to his home later.

Staircase supposedly designed by Leonardo Di Vinci.

The ceiling was amazing.

That night we dined at La Domaine des Hauts. We had a fabulous 8 course meal that took about 2 hours, maybe 3 to eat. The french believe in making a meal an event. Our waiter was so charming, he reminded me so much of my first french teacher in college.

That night we stayed at Tertres, a 19th century manor run by an adorable couple with two little girls. Martha spent most of the night tossing her cookies. It was sad. But, in the morning she was as good as new and ready to roll.

Martha's a tough chick.

Beautiful place to sleep and breakfast outside was so lovely. The songbirds were amazing.

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